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The MAC is Back

So... have you been over to the new MAC yet? If you haven't, you'd best get a move on, because -- according to early attendance figures -- every culture vulture in town is checking out Spokane's newest arts institution.

"From our grand opening, which was Dec. 5, through the present date, we've had 8,700 visitors," says Mike Esquibel, visitor services coordinator. "Our busiest week was actually Christmas week, when we had more than 2,000 people come through." Not bad, considering the museum was closed for two days that week, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Esquibel demurs when asked what the initial projections for the first month of business were, but he does point out that the museum hopes to attract a whopping 150,000 visitors this year. We wouldn't be a bit surprised if they hit their mark and then some!

This is a Coffee House?

A friend invited us to guitarist Leon Atkinson's concert Saturday night, at the Mother Goose Coffee House in the old Music City Building, 1011 W. First. Now, I knew what to expect from Leon, and I wasn't disappointed. His fluid interpretations of well-known favorites mixed with some rarely played (and slightly unpolished) gems, provided the perfect, nerve-soothing musical tonic for a blustery Saturday night. As for Mother Goose, well, she needs to get going on a radical redecoration project: 50 chairs lined up in the corner of a totally barren room doesn't quite qualify as a coffee house! I know, I know, it's hard to open a new venue, but with musicians and bands scheduled every Saturday through January, please paint the walls, get rid of the neon lights and bring in a real coffee bar! Thank you. [For more on the Mother Goose, check out this week's Music section; p. 27]

The Verdict is in...

We hustled around to at least nine of the 24 venues on First Night and still didn't experience anywhere near all the fun. We saw the rapt looks on faces as Dick Frost performed prestidigitation for preschoolers. And we shared the sudden realization during a Spokane Jazz Orchestra swing tune that couples were bumping into one another a lot on the crowded dance floor at the Masonic Ballroom. A great start to a new tradition, but we do have a few suggestions: Larger venues, more restaurants staying open for business, more restrooms for families with kids. But be sure to bring back the non-alcoholic revelry again next year. The Lilac City has itself a new tradition. [For more on First Night, check out the Last Word; p. 43]

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